Members of the Army’s elite 1st SFOD-D, or Delta Force, encountered heavy resistance and had to fight “hand to hand” during Friday’s raid in southeastern Syria that killed senior ISIS commander Abu Sayyaf and 12 of his bodyguards, according to defense officials.
The Delta Force commandos flew to the scene in Ospreys and Black Hawk helicopters, landing “on the X” at a multi-story building. They immediately met fierce resistance as they entered the compound. The operators engaged in CQB, or close quarters battle, with Sayyaf and his detachment of bodyguards, even trading blows “hand to hand” as they rushed the building, two defense officials told The Daily Beast.
The vehicles were flown by pilots from the Air Force Special Operations Command and the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. All of the officials spoke off the record because they were not authorized to discuss the raid publicly. So much for OpSec.
One official said there was resistance from armed guards and from Sayyaf himself but it was expected by the Delta operators. Some of the ISIS fighters hid behind women in an attempt to use them as human shields and, according to a defense official, the raiders were forced to “literally shoot around” the human shields to kill the fighters.
“It was risky, but not high risk,” the official said. “This is what these guys do.”